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October 12, 2007

Governor Schwarzenegger's Health Insurance Plan 2.0

ne of the things I've learned through the years as a negotiator is that regressive bargaining, besides being illegal in many cases, will always come back to bite you. That assumes, of course, that you have built up some trust with your adversary and can be depended on to at least honestly try to reach agreement. When regressive bargaining begins, the ability to reach an agreement is severely compromised and trust is on vacation.

Unfortunately, regressive bargaining is what I see from Governor Schwarzenegger on health care. He has "introduced" Health Insurance Plan 2.0, but instead of being better than the previous version 1.0, it takes at least a small step backward, though Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation calls version 2.0 "an enormous step backward."

For instance; under the first plan employers would be required to contribute 4% towards employee health care, far short of the 7.5% that Democrats want. In the new plan Schwarzenegger moved backward, allowing employers to pay on a sliding scale, ranging from nothing to 4%, letting some employers off the hook. What happened to "shared responsibility?"

The individual share just got bigger. Everyone will still be required to "obtain" coverage, but the plan doesn't adequately protect middle-class individuals who may not be able to afford high premiums. "Middle-class families would be left on their own to figure out how to pay thousands of dollars in deductibles, premiums, co-pays, prescriptions and other out-of-pocket expenses," Pulaski said. Some may not see this as a step backward, but it sure isn't moving forward.

Doctors are taken off the hook for their 2%. This isn't necessarily a negative, though it had little opposition, even from doctors, but is a step backward from Health Insurance 1.0. To make up for lost revenue Schwarzenegger wants to lease the state lottery.

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Posted by healthinsurance at October 12, 2007 03:49 PM